Jul 18, 2007

Bill Reported By House Ways And Means Committee

A House Ways and Means Committee press release:

Ways and Means Passes Bipartisan
Social Security Number- Identity Theft Prevention Bill
Legislation Approved Unanimously Today

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Committee on Ways and Means today approved legislation introduced by Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Michael R. McNulty (D-NY) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Sam Johnson (R-TX) designed to address the growing problem of identity theft. The final vote was 41 to zero.

"After 17 public hearings detailing the terrible consequences of identity theft, the time for talk is over and the time for action is at hand," McNulty (D-NY) said today. "If we are serious about addressing this growing problem, we must stop giving access to our Social Security number to every Tom, Dick, or Harry who seeks it."

During the course of the 17 hearings conducted by the Subcommittee, numerous experts testified that the easy availability of Social Security numbers (SSNs) in the public and private sectors, combined with the number’s widespread use as an individual identifier, greatly facilitates the crime of identity theft. The bill would restrict the sale, purchase and public display of the SSN by government and business, to make it less accessible to identity thieves, while providing exceptions for legitimate and necessary uses of the number.

"We are talking about keeping your private information private! If you have ever had your Social Security number stolen or your personal information compromised, you know how difficult it is to clear your good name and reclaim your credit rating," said Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Ranking Member of the Social Security Subcommittee. "We need to act now to stop the widespread abuse of Social Security numbers, help prevent ID theft, and further protect Americans’ privacy."

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